Van Buren superintendent ousted by unanimous vote

Van Buren Superintendent Michael Van Tassel.was ousted by unanimous vote on Monday.

- The Van Buren School Board voted unanimously Monday evening to oust superintendent Michael Van Tassel.

“This community wants change,” former Van Buren teacher Gunesha Frederick said during the meeting.

Some members said while they voted against the superintendent begrudgingly, they simply couldn’t ignore the public outcry against him.

Dave Spencer reports that some said what happened in the school district was “a perfect storm of problems,” adding that the best course of action at this point is to start over not only with a new superintendent, but a new school board.

“I believe sadly at this point that we are going to have to get an outside voice,” said parent Andrea VanDenBergh.

The problems have been well-documented by FOX 2, beginning with allegations that teachers at Savage Elementary were investigated for providing students with answers on standardized tests.

“There were five teachers who were baselessly accused of cheating on standardized tests with the students,” said Scott Russell, a former school board member. “There was no incentive for them to do so and to this day, they haven’t delivered any solid evidence to support that claim.”

Parents say there were bomb threats, even guns taken to school and parents were either misinformed or left out altogether.

“The board needs to realize that they are the employer of the superintendent - the superintendent is not their boss,” VanDenBergh said.

The board will begin their search for another leader of their school district. Director of Human Resources Shonta Langford will serve as superintendent during the interim.

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